Reduce Bandwidth & Storage Usage

All hosting plans on WP Engine have limits on the amount of bandwidth and storage available for your websites. To avoid having to buy additional storage or upgrade your plan, routine maintenance can usually help you reduce the amount of both that you’re using.

In this article we’ll show you how to view current bandwidth and storage use, as well as what steps to take when reducing bandwidth and storage.

Bandwidth

In terms of website hosting, “bandwidth” refers to the amount of data transferred between the site and visitors. WP Engine plans are designed to perform with the amount of traffic as promised by your plan level, and to work within the limitations of your server hosting environment.

Excess bandwidth usage may both indicate and cause other issues so reducing high bandwidth is the best course of action when possible. When a site’s bandwidth usage is high, multiple effects occur:

  • Slow Performance. When used in excess, bandwidth is a burden on page speed.
  • Traffic Spikes Impacted. More bandwidth equals less successful page loads during a spike in traffic.
  • More Data Transferred Per Visit. Page size should be as minimal as possible, to ensure load times are short.
  • E-Mail Relay Delayed. Excess bandwidth will reduce e-mail deliveries when using our default email services.

Bandwidth Overages

In many cases, bandwidth can be reduced and we recommend reviewing your site for possible areas of improvement to ensure proper scalability as your traffic increases. High routine bandwidth could point to performance issues and may indicate you are on too small of a plan size and may require an upgrade to ensure proper performance.

Shared plans are not currently charged overages for bandwidth. When reviewing your plan’s bandwidth usage in the User Portal the measurements are used primarily for health gathering purposes.

Premium plans include 1000GB bandwidth per month, and any usage beyond this is charged at a utility rate.

If your site has the following aspects, you should consider a plan with a higher bandwidth limit:

  • You have uploaded a lot of videos directly to your site.
  • You have uploaded a lot of large images directly to your site.
  • You have a large amount of uncompressed media.
  • You send around 200-500+ emails a day from your site without an SMTP mail service.

Calculate Bandwidth

Bandwidth refers to data transfer, therefore to get a general estimate of bandwidth you’d multiply the average amount of visitors per day, by the average page size, and then by the average page views per visitor. All environments (PRD, STG, DEV) including transferable environments contribute to total account bandwidth.

To see bandwidth usage by environment, visit the Sites page in the User Portal and look for the field labeled “Bandwidth” next to each environment. This will show the total bandwidth used by the environment in the last 30 days.

Additionally, Premium plans can view bandwidth usage on the Usage page.

A usage CSV can be downloaded from the Sites page containing total bandwidth used per environment over the last 30 days, as well as the average per day over the last 30 days.

Bandwidth can be caused by multiple aspects of a site, such as themes or product photos. For example, a large image file in your theme is set to load on every page, adding bandwidth usage with each view. Additionally, large uncompressed images can contribute by requiring more data be downloaded for viewing by each visitor than necessary.

For a deep dive on page size and media aspects, we suggest running a page-level performance test on your website using the Application Performance Monitoring (APM) add-on or with third-party tools. It’s important to run multiple tests several times to ensure you’re getting an accurate picture of a website’s usage, as each test is performed in a slightly different way. Some free tests we recommend include:

Reduce Bandwidth

We suggest the following to reduce bandwidth usage:

  • Network – Make sure all of your PRD environments are using either Global Edge Security or the Advanced Network. These networks include additional caching, CDN, and optimization at Edge to help optimize and disperse assets. Compare these networks here
  • Optimize images – This can be done before you upload them to WordPress or within WordPress itself using plugins. If you’re not able to optimize everything, focus on your highest traffic pages and images in your Theme.
  • Optimize files – Make sure large files such as PDFs or videos are properly compressed for your users. If you’re not able to optimize everything, focus on your most popular downloads.
  • Videos – If you’re hosting videos on your website, make sure they’re not playing on a loop. Additionally, consider hosting your videos on YouTube, Vimeo, or with another provider.
  • Manage traffic – Block unwanted traffic to your website by adjusting the Web Rules in place on your site. Sites may be targeted randomly by bad actors often using outdated user agents (ex. Mozilla 4.0). You can block repeat offenders in WP Engine’s Portal on the Web Rules page. Learn more about Web Rules Engine. Additionally, WP Engine’s Global Edge Security (GES) add-on gives your site extra protection from DDOS and other attacks. Learn more about GES.
  • Use your live domain – Make sure all of the URLs in WordPress are referencing your live domain (EX: yourdomain.com) and not the WP Engine subdomain (EX: somesite.wpengine.com). Smaller sites can do this quickly and easily with the free version of the WordPress plugin: Better Search Replace.
  • Email – Use SMTP mail services to offload email load if you’re sending 200+ emails a day. Learn how to configure SMTP services.
  • Upgrade – If you’ve optimized your site already and are still having bandwidth issues, purchase additional bandwidth by contacting your Account Manager. They can guide you to the best solution that meets your bandwidth requirements.

Storage

Storage refers to the amount of data retained, either temporarily or permanently, on your server. The maximum amount is allotted by your hosting plan.

Storage can impact performance by overusing server resources and impacting features such as copying and backups. In the case of large assets, storage can also indicate an issue with high page download times. Additionally, If your account exceeds its allotted storage capacity, WP Engine may require storage be reduced to protect server and platform functionality.

Shared plans cannot upgrade storage, and instead should upgrade their plan level or reduce usage. Premium plans can upgrade storage by speaking with an Account Manager.

Calculate Storage

All environments (PRD, STG, DEV) including transferable environments contribute to total account storage. WP Engine automated backups are not counted as part of your plan’s storage usage.

To view your plan’s current storage used and total storage allocation, visit the Usage page in the User Portal, located under Billing. The current storage will be displayed in gigabytes as well as a percent of total plan usage. This stat updates weekly, but a more current status can be requested via Support.

To see storage usage by environment, visit the Sites page in the User Portal.

Additionally, a usage CSV can be downloaded from the Sites page containing storage and other information.

Reduce Storage

We suggest the following to reduce high storage usage:

  • Delete unused files – If you know which files may be consuming large portions of storage and simply wish to access and remove them, your file system can be accessed using SFTP and SSH Gateway. We recommend creating a new backup checkpoint and downloading the zip to store files locally before deleting any assets.
  • Optimize images – This can be done before you upload them to WordPress or within WordPress itself using plugins. If you’re not able to optimize everything, focus on your highest traffic pages and images in your Theme.
  • Optimize files – Make sure large files such as PDFs or videos are properly compressed for your users. If you’re not able to optimize everything, focus on your most popular downloads.
  • Videos – If you’re hosting videos on your website, make sure they’re not playing on a loop. Additionally, consider hosting your videos on YouTube, Vimeo, or with another provider.
  • Backup plugins – WP Engine takes a nightly backup of all of your data and does not count it as part of your account’s storage usage. If you’re also using a backup plugin, that plugin may be using up some of your storage entitlement. See if you can delete older backups or store your backups offsite to free up storage.
  • Caching plugins – WP Engine has optimized caching for you at several levels so you may not even need a separate caching solution. However, if you are using a caching plugin, make sure that its cache is fully clearing and not collecting unneeded files which can take up some of your storage unnecessarily.
  • Offload media – If your site has a lot of large images or files, consider purchasing WP Offload Media which will essentially remove those files from being counted against your storage entitlement on WP Engine. WP Engine also offers a free service to offload media to a third-party Amazon S3 server called LargeFS. Learn more about LargeFS here.
  • Database – Some plugins may store large amounts of data they don’t need and some deleted plugins may leave old tables behind. You can view your tables via phpMyAdmin or using SQL-buddy from Delicious Brains.
  • Upgrade – If you’ve optimized your site already and are still having bandwidth issues, purchase additional bandwidth by contacting your Account Manager. They can guide you to the best solution that meets your bandwidth requirements.

NEXT STEP: Learn about the Plan Usage Page

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